Harry John Johnson (1826-1884)
Rock Tombs, Pinara, Turkey
Inscribed l.l.: Rock Tombs Pinara Nov /43, watercolour over pencil
48 x 32 cm
Spink & Son Ltd, 1991, K310279;
Private collection, U.K., until 2018
The artist was a pupil of William James Müller (1812-1845) and accompanied him on Sir Charles Fellows’ second archaeological expedition to Lycia in 1841, returning to London the following year. His style remained close to that of Müller throughout his career.
Pinara (meaning ‘round’ apparently after the shape of the hill on which the city stood) was one of the three main cities in the Xanthos valley and is thought to have been founded as an extension of Xanthos. According to Manecrates, an historian from the 4th century BC, the leaders of Xanthos felt their city was overpopulated and so they split the population into three groups, settling one at Pinara.
In the Lycian Federation Pinara was one of the six cities with the most voting power. It became the centre of a bishopric in the Byzantine era but declined in importance and was abandoned in the 9th century.
Today the flat-topped mountain which dominates the site has hundreds of burial tombs in its vertical east face.